EFFECTS OF MEANING- AND FORM-FOCUSED INSTRUCTION ON THE ACQUISITION OF VERB-NOUN COLLOCATIONS IN L2 ENGLISH

Paweł Szudarski

Abstract


 

The study investigated the effect of meaning- and form-focused instruction on the acquisition of collocations by L1 Polish learners of English as a foreign language. Forty-three intermediate learners were divided into three groups: meaning-focused instruction plus focus-on-forms (MFI plus), meaning-focused instruction (MFI only) and a control group. During a three-week treatment, the two experimental groups were provided with two different types of instruction. The MFI plus group read stories that contained target collocations and additionally completed explicit exercises focused on collocational patterns, while the MFI only group read the same stories but no mention of collocations was made. The target collocations were verb-noun combinations with frequent delexical English verbs (e.g. ‘give birth’ or ‘take a step’) likely to be known by participants receptively but causing difficulty in language production. Three tests tapping into collocational competence at different levels of vocabulary mastery revealed that MFI followed by Focus on Forms (FonFs) is an effective way of enhancing learners’ collocational knowledge at both the productive and receptive level, whereas MFI only does not seem to lead to much improvement. The study is discussed in relation to prior research on L1 influence on L2 vocabulary acquisition and offers insights into language pedagogy.

Keywords


collocations; formulaic sequences; SLA; EFL learners; form- and meaning-focused instruction

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ISSN 2045-4031. University of Central Lancashire 2010-2013.